I feel like every time I scroll through my Facebook feed there's another ad for a subscription box -- you know, those $10-a-month subscriptions that send you a box of dog treats or natural snacks or razors or, in my favorite case, makeup. Birchbox and Ipsy are two such subscriptions that I've enjoyed for the last two or three years.
Birchbox is what I consider to be the founder of these monthly subscription boxes. It's been around for a while, and most subscription boxes grew out of the seeds that Birchbox planted. They send samples of high-end makeup, hair products, skin care, and fragrance. Occasionally they throw in a treat or something non-beauty-related like a snack or a headband. You can create a profile to tell them your skin type, hair type, and personal style, and for the most part you're going to get a variety of products every month.
Ipsy is a relatively newer company that promises a travel-sized "glam bag" with 4-5 beauty samples every month. Curated by makeup artists & beauty gurus, Ipsy is very tailored to the customer and a detailed beauty profile. The brands that Ipsy works with are generally less expensive, so samples are larger and, in some cases, full-sized products.
I've reviewed my Birchboxes and Ipsy glam bags in the past, but what it's really come down to is this: which one is better? Of course the answer to this question is going to be personal and will totally depend on what you want to get out of it, but most people are going to subscribe to one or the other and not both. So I'm here to tell you how I feel after a few years of receiving both subscriptions.
Ipsy wins by a mile.
First let me tell you what Birchbox has going against it (for me). The brands that Birchbox works with are higher-end and sometimes luxury brands, so it is incredibly rare that I'm going to buy something I've tried from a Birchbox. The one exception was a bottle of Catherine Malandrino perfume that I still love to this day. I'm hard to please when it comes to fragrance, so when I found something I loved I had to snatch it up. But other than that, Birchbox's products are too expensive for me. This might actually be a draw for some of you, though: you get to sample products that you would never get to use, otherwise.
This is the kicker for Birchbox, though: I'm usually uninterested in most of the products that I get in the box. I want makeup. I rarely get makeup. I don't want perfume; I always get perfume. I get hair products that aren't sulfate-free and they go straight in the trash. This, honestly, is consistent. I wish I could customize my preferences more than I'm able to, and I wish that boxes were more tailored to the customer.
How about those boxes, though!? I'm keeping my monthly subscription-- for a few more months, anyway -- just so I can get some more of these gorgeous boxes and find some way to use them at home. Love.
I love Ipsy because it's totally tailored to my beauty profile. Three or four of the products in my glam bag are makeup every month, and they're big enough to last for so long! Nine times out of ten the colors are perfect for me, too. I don't tend to use the bags, but they're super cute and higher quality than you would think for a $10-a-month subscription box.
The beauty profile is incredibly detailed, too. It goes beyond hair type and skin tone: they get into what brands you like, where you buy beauty products, your favorite types of beauty products, your makeup style, etc. So detailed, right? And if you change it, your glam bag will change. I know a few people who also subscribe to Ipsy and I love seeing what they get in their glam bags every month.
Extra perk? The products are affordable. I don't have to hoard the sample, scraping out every tiny little bit since I can't afford the full size.
True story: I have a bag where I keep the samples I've gotten from Birchbox & Ipsy that I haven't used immediately, and that's where I got the products for these photos. My favorite thing about Ipsy is how much makeup I get in my bag, but there isn't much makeup in the photos because I've used it all!
Also... that Birchbox photo above kinda makes Birchbox look pretty good, huh?
Look. When it comes down to it, it's all about personal preference. For me, Ipsy is The One because of the product sizes and the amount of makeup I get. But you might be more into fragrance, skin care, and sulfate-full haircare products. High-end samples might be your thing. If that's the case, Birchbox is the way to go.
Have you tried both like I have? I'd love to hear which one you love & why!
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